The Holy Spirit Is the Expert about God (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

  If you can’t view this video, click here. Occasionally, I am the guest speaker at a church. As a guest, I am not well known, so the pastor says a few introductory words about me. Usually, the introduction boils down to this: “George Paul Wood is a good man and a good speaker, so pay attention to what he says.” If you’ve never been introduced to an audience this way, you probably don’t know the embarrassment that arises from the discrepancy between others’ perception of you and your self-perception. Would anyone think I’m a good man if they knew … Continue reading The Holy Spirit Is the Expert about God (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

Immigration and the Bible: Changing the Conversation

“How can we process the topic of immigration as informed believers?” This is the question M. Daniel Carroll R. sets out to answer in Immigration and the Bible, a 60-minute video produced by Urban Entry. The video was taped at a forum held by the Christian Community Development Association in Phoenix, Arizona, in January 2010. Caroll is author of Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Border. You may or may not agree with Carroll’s conclusion, but every Christian needs to wrestle biblically with the immigration issue as he has done. Continue reading Immigration and the Bible: Changing the Conversation

Mandela’s Way

Richard Stengel, Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage (New York: Crown, 2010). $23.00, 256 pages. What would Nelson Mandela do? Toward the end of Mandela’s Way, Richard Stengel asks this question. Stengel helped Mandela write his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, in the early 1990s, and this question helped him “internalize [Mandela] and his ideas.” Mandela’s Way is biographical, but with a moral point. How can reflecting on the life of Nelson Mandela help us live? The tradition of biography as moral exercise is as old as the Greeks and Romans, not to mention Jews and Christians, … Continue reading Mandela’s Way

How We Know What We Know (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

  How do we know what we know? We know some things by reason. I know that I drank a venti chai latte this morning on my way to work. I know that 2 + 2 = 4. I know that if all men are mortal, and Socrates is a man, then Socrates is mortal. I know that George Washington was the first president of the United States. I know that I lived at 973 Begonia Avenue for most of my childhood. These statements are examples of how we build knowledge through reason by means of experience, intuition, logical entailment, … Continue reading How We Know What We Know (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

            Seth Grahame-Smith, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2010). $21.99, 352 pages.  Seth Grahame-Smith, the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is making mischief again, this time with a literary mashup of Abraham Lincoln and vampires. I’m a huge fan of the sixteenth president, so I wasn’t sure I would appreciate his being turned into a Yankee Van Helsing. But the book was generally well written and entertaining, even though it became a bit predictable, once you figured out who the vampires were. Also, the ending didn’t work for me … Continue reading Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A Toddler’s Misuse of Words (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

  My son Reese is learning to talk. His favorite word is mama, followed closely by bird, dog, Chuck (the name of our Yorkshire Terrier), please, and fish. He throws out dada every now and then, although it’s humbling to think that birds outrank me in my son’s lexicon. Lately, Reese has even been using a two-word phrase at the end of meals: all done. Reese doesn’t always use these words properly, however. He sometimes calls other dogs Chuck, for example, using our dog’s name for members of the canine family generally. Recently, while walking with me through Bass Pro … Continue reading A Toddler’s Misuse of Words (1 Corinthians 2:6-8)

Paul’s Hedgehog Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

      If you can’t view today’s Daily Word video, click here. The Greek poet Archilochus said, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Building on this insight, Isaiah Berlin divided “writers and thinkers” between those “who relate everything to a single central vision” and “those who pursue many ends.” Using Berlin’s taxonomy, we might say that Paul was a hedgehog whose “one big thing” was Jesus Christ.  Consider what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:  When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to … Continue reading Paul’s Hedgehog Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

Nice Speeches or Changed Lives (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

  If you can’t view today’s Daily Word video, click here. When I was a teenager, I participated in speech competitions hosted by the Lion’s Club. One year—it must’ve been around the same time as Nancy Reagan’s famous “Just Say No!” campaign—our topic was why students shouldn’t take drugs. I researched the topic and prepared my speech. On the night of the competition, I spoke first. Usually, you don’t want to speak first because you’re still nervous, the mic stand needs adjusting, the audio feeds back—all things that can throw a speaker off his game. I was not a usual … Continue reading Nice Speeches or Changed Lives (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)